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Joe Squared Pizza, Owner Joe Edwardsen's Square Pizzas at Charles North and near the Power Plant

Local Chain Charles North Inner Harbor Pizza Coal Oven Square Pizza Risotto

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#1 Lydia R

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 05:19 PM

Joe2 Pizza/Bar is located on the corner of North & Howard in the Mount Vernon section of Baltimore. It's been languishing on my Balto-visit list for a while, but went straight to the top when I read Warthog's post on Chowhound. It's one of many posts devoted to Joe's pizza, but this post confirmed that a lump of coal was in Joe's future [in a very, very good way].

As someone who watched Phat Pug go down in coal ash, I've been hopeful that someone with more pizza prowess would step up. Joe Edwardson Owner/Exec Chef purchased a new coal-fired pizza oven, had it delivered and is now waiting for final municipal clearance to install and fire it up. So, the pizza I had Tuesday was an example of what he's able to do now. I had a Margherita with a thin sourdough crust made with San Marzano tomatoes and fresh Moz. The crust was super-crispy with a hint of the sourdough and held up to the tomato sauce well given its crackery texture. Fresh Moz and basil grown in their rooftop herb garden were the "icing."

I had a chance to talk with Joe and told him that this board, unlike Chowhound, welcomes pros posting about their restaurants. Hopefully, he'll join the conversation.


"I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to life for." Lou Gehrig 1939

 


#2 soapy

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 08:38 PM

I take trapeze lessons across the street from Joe Squared. The food there is great but the service was sloooow. I went in there one evening with two other people and while the place was almost empty it took us almost half an hour to get our food.

#3 joesquared

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 12:33 PM

The new oven is up and running. It makes and Awesome pizza.
Joe

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Owner of Joe Squared Pizza

#4 1000yregg

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 05:05 PM

Got to Joe Squared last week with some Bmore Chowhounds.
The coal oven cooks the pizza crust so well- crispy and charred.
Tried the Clams Casino, a sausage & mushroom, and a pesto pizza.
All were delicious. I can't wait to return.
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#5 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 01:45 PM

We abducted 1000yregg following the American Craft Council show a couple of weekends ago, and forced him to navigate to Joe Squared for a pizza pig-out. It's kind of its own style, more resembling a heavily-topped NY pizza than anything else. Months after the coal-fired oven went in, I understand that the pizze have become more consistent, but the uneven baking of the crusts suggests that there's still some learning to be had.

The bottoms showed a nice polka-dot charring all around and looked great from the top view, but a few of the slices had slightly underdone crusts once you bit into them. No real spring, and a pretty flat cornicione. Tasty sauces. A bit heavy on the mozz, but that didn't stop me from hoovering my share of the Flag pizza.

It'd need some solid improvement in the crust department to become a national threat, pizza-wise, but it's good enough and interesting enough to warrant a visit if you're in the area. And it's got a great B'more vibe...just be careful that you don't miss your turn and cross over the bridge.

Dave Hsu
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#6 sixteenbiticon

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 08:03 AM

I just went here for the first time on a mini pizza tour of Baltimore. This was our last stop after hitting Matthew's and BOP. This was definitely the best. We had a half quattro fromaggio with mozzarella, asiago, parmigiano, and romano and half barbecue chicken. The asiago was sublime and we all loved the combination of cheeses. The barbecue chicken side was inspiring and it was the first time I had had avocado and corn on a pizza and it worked beautifully. The other diners would've liked more avocado but I think it was just the right amount as too much may have overpowered the pizza. The crust was thin but not the razor sharp that usually agitates my lips so this was a great reprieve from the norm. Also worth mentioning, our waitress was awesome, very friendly and goofy and helpful.

#7 DonRocks

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 09:13 AM

The food there is great but the service was sloooow. I went in there one evening with two other people and while the place was almost empty it took us almost half an hour to get our food.

I stopped by Joe Squared last night, and sipped a beer at the bar while I waited for a pizza and sandwich. My first impression (on an empty Tuesday) was that of morning-after stale-beer bar smell, which I detest, and I wished I was outside on the patio. Joe's gives the appearance of being more of a dive-lounge music scene rather than a serious restaurant, but I heard the pizzas were good, so I waited, and waited, getting terribly bored and wanting to be anywhere else but where I was. When the bartender said he'd made a mistake and ordered the wrong pizza, I understood, but boy did I want to get out of there - I asked for the entire order to go.

The food finally arrived, I got my check (39 minutes after I first ordered), and my bartender quietly didn't charge me for my beer. I pointed it out to him, and he pretty much sympathized with my wait, so I tipped him a full 20% after tax on the carryout order. It was a nice offer, comping my beer, and it was the correct thing to do.

So how was the food? A surprisingly large 12-inch Meat Lovers Pizza ($17) was excellent, with super-thin, sourdough-based, almost soft-matzo-like crust with a good char on the bottom. The toppings were generous - tomato sauce, rosemary, ground beef, sausage, salami, capicola, prosciutto, mozzarella, and provolone - and there's no wasted crust around the edges since the toppings reach the border of the pizza. I agree with Dave that this isn't quite ready to take the national stage, but it was a great pizza (if a little amped up on fennel), and I'd absolutely come back here if I was in the area.

A small Lamb Cheese Steak ($9) was too expensive for a relatively modest sandwich. Served on a hoagie-like roll, it's a nice integration of roasted lamb, a little mint, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, asiago, lettuce (I believe a single leaf of good romaine), quality tomatoes, and mayo (on the side, since it was carryout). Not at all bad, but between the two, the pizza is what I'd return for.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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#8 Lydia R

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 08:23 AM

Fresh Moz and basil grown in their rooftop herb garden were the "icing."

Last night's dinner conversation with a group of Baltimore 'hounds turned to Laura Vozzella's article in the Baltimore Sun detailing rooftop restaurant gardens and Joe Squared's "recycling" of herb farming materiel:

"It's really nice on a stressful day to say, 'Ahhh, got to go to the roof and water the herbs,' and then maybe stay up there too long," said Joe Edwardsen, owner of Joe Squared Pizza & Bar on North Avenue. Edwardsen is growing tarragon, thyme, oregano and "a lot of basil" on his rooftop.

"We drop over $3,000 in an average week in produce, so growing the herbs, I think, probably saves $200 to $300 a week, especially with all the pesto we make," Edwardsen said.

It helps that he picked up his big growing tubs and hydroponic equipment for free. "The police threw it out when they were busting the pot-growing operation next door," Edwardsen said.

But it's not just about saving money. The herbs he grows are more flavorful because he doesn't have to wash them as thoroughly as produce from a commercial farm.

"Growing on the roof, you don't have the pest problem," he said. "You don't have to use pesticides. We can keep most things off our plants. You get things from these farms, and you have to have it soaked three times in bins of water before you serve it because you don't know what they've put on it."

With the rooftop herbs, Edwardsen said, "We can give it a quick rinse, and that's about it. So we don't have to soak all those oils off it. ... You want all that flavor."

The best bit of new is that Joe's opening a Mexican restaurant later this year.

"I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to life for." Lou Gehrig 1939

 


#9 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 06:05 PM

Ducked in the other day following another visit to the Walters Art Museum. I hadn't remembered Don's comparison of the crust to matzo, but it's an apt textural comparison. Crackery, but also airy. And now, evidently, reliably consistent.

Bonus points for the bravely noticeable anchovy flavor in the (technically inauthentic, yet) really perky Caesar salad. And the current art on the walls: a silkscreens of photos of city scenes.

This is a great local hangout, with great local pizza.

Dave Hsu
--------"Cuisine represents a knife edge that separates attractive stimulation from death."--- Art Ayers


#10 lillith

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:47 PM

Don's review of Joe Squared this past week reminded me of a puzzlement I have had since going there a year or two ago. All the talk is of the pizza, but no one mentions perhaps the most unusual aspect of the menu: they serve at least ten different kinds of risotto daily. Our group had several different kinds, with thoughtful and enticing flavor combinations. And since it is gluten-free, it makes a welcome addition to the more expected menu items such as salads and pastas. So anyone who would normally pass up a restaurant renowned for its pizza due to gluten issues has a reason to seek this one out instead. Great option for a group looking for both pizza and anything that isn't a salad (given what most pizza places have to offer the gluten-averse). Or anyone who loves a good risotto. I'd love to see a pizza place in DC offer this as a standard menu item. (Or, as some might say, a "risotto program").

All the other things we ordered were quite good, too. And very handy for having a relaxed meal before or after a show nearby, where there are a couple of performance venues. I'll be returning the next time there is an aerial dance performance in the alley across the street.

#11 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:11 AM

The new location on Market street is behind the closed-off entrance to Power Plant Live! during the weekend nights. After a certain time of night there may be a cover ($5 after 11 PM this Sat) just to get into this area to access these bars/restaurants. I doubt it's hurting their business, as it was pretty busy the whole night. They also have live music playing. We looked in but didn't eat because we were still full. Pizza looked decent, though!

#12 DonRocks

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 08:30 PM

I had a Joe Squared pizza at the original location (for the third time), and although it was certainly very good - the closest DC equivalent I can think of is the original Ledo, but there really is nothing comparable - it was maybe my least favorite of the three because the toppings seemed a little bit more ordinary, or should I say, "muddy," this time - it just didn't sparkle. The crust, however, was quite good, with that nice coal char - and for the first time ever, I noticed the bin of coal out in front of the restaurant which I thought was very interesting - plus, someone had taken a rock and scrawled on the sidewalk, "Free Coal." For the record, a 16-inch half Bacon and Clam and half Sopressata which, despite the name, is very vegetable-oriented. It was an enormous pizza for $24 that provided four meals, and, needless to say, was quite salty.

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#13 thetrain

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 11:02 PM

The pizza here (original location) is my favorite so far in Baltimore, Don is right the crust has great char and holds up despite its thinness.  I've stuck mostly with my favorite toppings here so far, so I can't comment on some of their crazier combos, but pickled onions are great on pizza.  The style is pretty unique, and reminiscent of St. Louis style (Hill, not Imo quality), but without the provel.



#14 Tweaked

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 11:04 AM

Stopped in last night to the Power Plant location:  Maybe they are cooking the pizza different at this location, still square, still thin, but nothing crisp or charred about the crust.  Is it suppose to be crispy and charred?

 

The crust was more like a soft flat bread, that was easily folded over...kinda reminded me of fresh pita, that you could fold over, and eat like a pizza pita. 

 

We ordered a pepperoni, it was really tasty, I was just expecting crisp & char to the crust. 

 

Anyway, if you are hitting up a show at Rams Head Live, Joe Squared is a solid option for pre-concert eating.  We sat at the bar around 6:30pm, service was quick,  a 12inch pizza, app of fried calamari, and three beers for under $40. 


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Local Chain, Charles North, Inner Harbor, Pizza, Coal Oven, Square Pizza, Risotto

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